Yesterday brought Game 3 for each of the AL series, with Texas and New York bringing 2-0 leads home with them to try for the sweep. Colby Lewis opposed Matt Garza in Arlington, while Phil Hughes and Brian Duensing faced off in New York.
Garza and Lewis were locked in a pitcher’s duel, but the Rays were able to pull off a comeback win in the 8th and 9th innings against the Rangers, prolonging the series by at least one game with a 6-3 victory.
Duensing, on the other hand, allowed 5 runs (all earned) in just 3.1 innings, taking the loss and watching as the Yankees swept the Twins out of the playoffs in the divisional series for the second straight season. Phil Hughes pitched 7 scoreless innings to earn the win in a game that ended 6-1.
Rays vs. Rangers:
WPA Leader: Carlos Peña (.256)
Peña, who could very well have been playing in his last game in a Rays’ uniform had the Rangers taken the win, took his team on his back and ensured that he’d have at least one more contest with Tampa Bay. Peña went 2 for 3 with 3 RBIs, 2 runs, a home run, and two walks. Peña was also involved in the two most important plays in this game. After a Dan Johnson one-out double in the 8th, Peña singled home Desmond Jennings (who had pinch-run for Johnson) to tie the game at two. Peña later scored on John Jaso’s two-out single, giving the Rays the lead for good.
Biggest Plays: Jaso’s single, in the highest pressure moment of the game (3.51 LI), gave the Rays the lead and took the Rays from 5 outs away from elimination to now being one win away from getting the game back to Tampa for a decisive game 5. Jaso’s RBI single had a whopping .260 WPA.
Twins vs. Yankees:
WPA Leader: Phil Hughes (.294)
Hughes’ dominant start makes him the WPA leader for in this game. Hughes allowed only 4 hits and a single walk to the Twins in his 7 innings, striking out 6 and shutting down Minnesota’s offense to begin the Twins’ long offseason.
Marcus Thames two-run homer in the 4th inning turned this from a relatively close 2-run game to a 4-0 blowout. Thames was credited with .102 WPA, as the Twins’ win expectancy dropped from 19.8% before the play to 9.6% after it. Other big plays included Robinson Cano’s leadoff triple in the second (.090 WPA) that would lead to the Yankees’ first run of the game when Jorge Posada singled Cano home with one out.
Brian Duensing’s miserable start earns him the tag as the least effective player in this game, as his 5 runs allowed in 3.1 innings with only one strikeout put him at a WPA of -.182. The Twins rotation simply proved to be not quite deep enough, and after Francisco Liriano couldn’t lead the Twins to a win in game 1, they never really had a shot.